Former President Bill Clinton on Monday met in secret (no press allowed) with roughly 100 leaders of South Florida's Jewish community, and, as the Times of Israel reports, "He vowed that, if elected, Hillary Clinton would make it one of her top priorities to strengthen the U.S.-Israel alliance." He also "stressed the close bond that he and his wife have with the State of Israel."
It may be tempting to dismiss this as standard, vapid Clintonian politicking: adeptly telling everyone what they want to hear and making them believe it. After all, is it even physically possible to "strengthen the U.S.-Israel alliance" beyond what it already entails: billions of dollars in American taxpayer money transferred every year, sophisticated weapons fed to Israel as it bombs its defenseless neighbors, blindly loyal diplomatic support and protection for everything it does?
But Bill Clinton's vow of even greater support for Israel is completely consistent with what Hillary Clinton herself has been telling American Jewish audiences for months. In November, she published an op-ed in The Forward in which she vowed to strengthen relations not only with Israel, but also with its extremist prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
"I have stood with Israel my entire career," she proclaimed. Indeed, "as secretary of state, [she] requested more assistance for Israel every year." Moreover, she added, "I defended Israel from isolation and attacks at the United Nations and other international settings, including opposing the biased Goldstone report [which documented widespread Israeli war crimes in Gaza]."
Clinton media operatives such as Jonathan Alter have tried to undermine the Sanders campaign by claiming that only Sanders, but not Clinton, has committed the sin of criticizing Obama: "Hillary stopped criticizing Obama in 2008, when [Obama] was nominee; Sanders stopped in 2015, so he could run as Dem." Aside from being creepy -- it's actually healthy to criticize a president and pathological to refuse to do so -- this framework is also blatantly false. Clinton, in her book and in interviews, has often criticized Obama for being insufficiently hawkish: making clear that she wanted to be more militaristic than the Democratic president who has literally bombed seven predominantly Muslim countries (thus far).